FIFA Street Review
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FIFA Street's focus on one-on-one humiliation is a blast, especially if you can master the controls. There is nothing better than tricking past an opponent, and EA makes it look so good despite some rough A.I.
- One-on-one trick humiliation is a blast
- Building and progressing a team
- Strong online features
- Poor A.I.
- Controls are a bit slow
- Occasional ragdoll engine issues
For anyone with a competitive spirit, there are few things in life better than beating someone one-on-one. Sure, a team victory against bitter rivals is always reason to storm city streets—then again, you may find the same result if your team loses—but there’s something so much more special about a solo victory. That is, in part, the basis of EA Sports’ reboot of FIFA Street. It’s a game all about humiliating your opponents and strutting around the world like virtual rock stars. This is a team-based sports game, but it plays more like a one-on-one competition aimed at rewarding tricks, crazy goals, and making your opponents run home to their mommies for hot cocoa. But does this game have enough to keep you strutting for longer than a couple matches, or is it just a one trick pony?
The logical comparison for this game is EA Sports’ venerable FIFA football (soccer) series, but at times it plays more like a tricked-out NHL game given the small court size and how players seem to skate around the ground. It’s an odd combination of calculated style and precision passing, and a fast-paced turnover/recovery system. When you mash it all together, you get a game that serves a definite purpose—providing FIFA fans with a more stylized gameplay approach to the action—but ends up feeling a bit thin. That’s partially because games take minutes, goals are generally fast, and team management is minimal at best.
The release marks the first time the EA Sports FIFA development team (EA Canada) has created FIFA Street, and it shows in the gameplay and presentation. This looks like a scaled-down version of FIFA 12, and since it runs on the same Player Impact Engine, you’ll find players reacting relatively naturally in the gyms or on courts. But, that also means the engine turns players into ragdolls on a regular basis, and it’s not uncommon for players to trip up at the slightest touch. The animations look great, but it doesn’t always look natural. This is especially true when several players run into each other and create a dog pile of humans.
The gameplay focus is largely on individual skills. The controls are very similar to other FIFA games, with face buttons controlling pass, long passes, through passes, and shots, and R2 letting you sprint and L1 changing players on defense. If you’ve played any FIFA game, you’ll initially feel right at home. But if you think that’s enough to beat your opponents, prepare to lose. FIFA Street ‘s controls focus more on ball movement than other FIFA games. For example, you can tap R1 to flick up that ball and start to juggle, while L2 will stop the ball regardless of your player’s movements. The left analog stick still controls your player, but the right analog stick is tied to tricks and moving the ball around your body. This probably sounds pretty easy on a basic level, but there are a ton of tricks to learn, and it feels a lot different than FIFA 12. Even if you are used to performing tricks in FIFA 12, prepare for a much smoother, slower experience in FIFA Street. It’s a system that will initially seem easy enough and enjoyable, but you’ll quickly learn you need more practice when playing against someone who knows how to beat your defenders with a flick of the ball.
Playing defense is almost as fun as offense in FIFA Street, largely because it’s a game so dependent on the notion of humiliation, and there’s nothing better than humiliating someone that’s trying to humiliate you. Watch for better opponents to try to tip the ball over your head; simply take a step back with the left analog stick and you’ll gain control and can quickly spin around the humiliated challenger. It’s an enjoyable experience on a very basic level, but there are some issues with the gameplay mechanics and engine that offer a healthy dose of frustration.
There isn’t a lot of attention placed to your goalkeeper. This makes sense as the keeper is often switching between defense and attack when not on the net, but even when his primary focus is on the protecting the box, he’s slow and ... (continued on next page)
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